spiritual glamour: my first guru heartbreak

On my first trip to India, my friends and I made two important visits. We went far north for a private audience with the Dalai Lama {you can read about my heart-altering experience here.} And we went far south to stay at the Ashram of the famous guru Sathya Sai Baba.

Sai Baba is a controversial swami. I have right-minded friends who have witnessed him work miracles – or magic tricks as many others suspect. He is said to work his powers to manifest rings and bird eggs and gemstones from his palm. And, I think, why not? Our human perspective of dimensionality is only emerging, but certainly some know how to pierce the veil. I believe that instant material manifestation is possible, so why not Sai Baba?

But in addition to being praised for his powers, Sai Baba has been accused of being a sexual predator and a conman. And yet, just like the week I sat in his temple, there are thousands upon thousands of people … from curious spectators like me, to life-long devotees, who travel far to sit at his feet. They stay for weeks, sometimes years. Huge sloping white temples, a free hospital built in his name (people journey from as far as New Jersey for open heart surgery at no cost,) a Sathya Sai Baba university. The place is impressively massive.

I wore frangipani flowers in my hair.

I got up at four am to stand in line and hear the chants. I’m embarrassed to say I even wore a bindi dot (which is kind of like going to Jamaica and getting corn row braids on holiday … it’s lame.) I chanted. I prayed. I meditated. But, I was just not feeling the love. It was confusing my expectations of bliss. Clearly, I was not going to be saved on my trip to India.

No eye contact is allowed within the ashram walls. Imagine a bustling village without anyone really looking at each other. Men and women are kept separate within the temple. There is a lineup of hundreds of men, and a separate line up of hundreds of women. The old Indian mamas who were in charge of steering the herds of attendees were gruff. One of them snapped at me for looking at a man…and I wasn’t even lookin’, I swear.

By day three in swami land I had a wicked craving for a pack of smokes and The Pogues.

The whole scene felt rather joyless to me. And arrogant. Westerners in their new tunics all proud to be pious for three weeks out of the year. Of course, there were sweet moments – mostly with children and street peddlers, and I met some wonderful souls who were traveling the world asking big questions. But on the whole, I’ve felt more zest for life at a diner in Oklahoma.

There is place for piety, celibacy has its merits, and austerity can be hugely growthful. I get it. I understand the spiritual development purpose that such restraints are meant to serve.

But if you’re so caught up in your dogma that you can’t feel sincerity when it pulls on your sari, that you can’t even laugh out loud, then what’s the point of devotion?

It was my first devotee bummer. My bindi dot had melted. We were in the exotic plains of India, with bowls of marigolds to scoop and sacred cows wandering free – thousands of us – supposedly gathered in the name of love and peace. But from my angle, many Baba worshipers were just as goo-goo-eyed and uptight as any God-fearing brimstone Baptist.

Too bad. I was really hoping for something more…magical.

related posts

ARE YOU READY TO FORGIVE? The complicated, gritty path to grace.

ARE YOU READY TO FORGIVE? The complicated, gritty path to grace. It’s complex. It’s confusing. It’s deeply particular. It’s the through-line of most mystical teachings: Forgiveness.

Deep-Positivity

Why positive thinking might be leading us in the wrong direction.

Deep positivity.
If there could be a slogan for manifestation theory, this would be it:
Energy follows thought. Energy follows thought. Energy follows thought. And by the way…energy follows thought.
Manifestation happens from the mind.
For it to work effectively, you must achieve clarity of desire, root into the depths of positivity, fend off doubts with Faith, and repeat. Every minute of every day, give or take.

Mixing-our-own-medicine

Antidepressants, meditation, the Goddess, and antibiotics. Making up your healing path.

Antidepressants, meditation, the Goddess, and antibiotics. Making up your healing path. There’s a time and place for everything. Knowing the right time and the right place is how you become your own healer.

WhiteHotTruthChapter3

How to be truly wise? Rock your paradoxes.

True wisdom usually holds and transcends opposing points of view. Wisdom knows that there is always an exception to the rule, that there is a time and place, and that a case-by-case approach is divine protocol.

When “sacred” sex goes south. Freeing our bodies…messing with our minds.

Groupthink is difficult to detect in the self-help space because it’s often spun as progressive and undogmatic. It shimmers with a counter-culture glow.

Danielle-LaPorte-The-Lie-Of-Affiliation

THE LIE OF AFFILIATION. Or…why group-think can really suck.

THE LIE OF AFFILIATION. The Lie of Affiliation says, “Groupthink is good think.” We could also call this The Lie of Being Cool. Join me for lunch on Facebook Live tomorrow [12pm PST/ 3pm EST] and we’ll bite into the dynamics of group-think (it can really suck) and I’ll do Q&A!

White-Hot-Truth

I want you to love and trust yourself more intensely.

So White Hot Truth is about questioning our quest. Not so that we can get all debaucherous (tho’ that might be exactly what your spiritual evolution requires at the moment. In which case, go for it.) so we can craft a spirituality for ourselves that feels inspired and liberating — instead of a checklist for getting holistic and moral approval ratings.

One of the truest conversations I’ve had - Danielle LaPorte-Audio.

Lies. Truth. Porn. Friendship. Sickness. Motherhood. And softness. One of the truest conversations I’ve had.

Like most humans, on the deepest level, I crave to be known. This conversation is a knowing — one of the truest recorded conversations that I’ve had. Being with my friend Jono Fisher, The Wakeup Project founder, is just…so…deeply comforting.

A few things I believe-laporte-danielle

I think we’re obsessed with protein, and sunscreen, and sameness. A few things I believe…

I think we’re obsessed with protein, and sunscreen, and sameness. And we forget, more tragically than most can understand, that consuming LIGHT is how we grow — in union, and with distinction.

Danielle-LaPorte-Divine-Feminine

Misunderstanding the “Divine Feminine.” And Masculine. And the love between them.

The “divine” in Divine Feminine is about wholeness. It’s where The Great Father and The Great Mother are unified. And that divinity then expresses itself through a feminine energy vehicle, upholding and emphasizing the key qualities and interests of the feminine.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This